Never stop hoping against hope. WebOS, whose pedigree can be traced back to PalmOS and the popular Palm Pilot series of PDAs (they were mini tablets, for you young'uns), will be OpenSource.
I've already had my say on what could be done with it here and here so I'm not going to repeat myself. So the question will be who will do what with it.
Will it be the next phone OS? Suddenly the open source world is full of phone OS / tablet OS. We have the resurrected MeeGo: Tizen, the OS for low-end Nokia phones Meltemi and now WebOs. Not to mention the lower profile GridOS, LiMo and SHR. This is all to the benefit of manufacturers who will be free to build on top of these platform. The best thing that could happen is that phones go the way of the PC. Hardware is independent of software. This means you can load any OS you want to your phone. Or customize it to the hilt. Skinning will no longer be the realm of the manufacturers and mobile service providers. Ah, the prospect of a high school graduation themed phones (complete with school-spirit color and logo) warms the hearts of retailers everywhere.
Will is be on your car dashboard? Toyota is on borad. Ford has flirted with in the past. Don't know how they are going to get it past their partner, Microsoft, though. But a WebOS powered in-car system is a great fit. It already does the touch interface well enough. Component and accessories manufacturers could just provide an interface and it would be the linux kernel's job to hook them up to WebOS. WebOS will then providing the human interface. That is a long way from a knob to turn on the air-conditioner.
Will it be on the TV? Finally TV manufacturers can provide an interface worthy of the Linux kernel already running in most new TVs. If your TV does YouTube or Netflix, chances are that you threw out a printed GPL license together with the FCC notices that came along with your TV. The TV doesn't need to be touchscreen for it to work but a remote with an accelerometer would be nice. This could be the start of a shift of how we consume entertainment. Think of the ability to buy channel apps where a channel is an app. Or packs of programs as apps. Better still, an app to control kids from watching too much TV.
What does this mean to Linux users out there? Your knowledge just got more valuable.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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